Like 18th Century travellers embarking on a Grand Tour of Europe to broaden their perspectives, staff at Macquarie University from Monday 5 December, will have iLearn opened to them in the Open iLearn initiative. To start searching what iLearn has to offer, go here http://ilearn.mq.edu.au/course/search.php. If you’d like some ideas about which units to visit, read on.
As four Merit Scholars (Alexander Roussos, Eryn Chapman, Legrand Buan and Leonie Nahhas) reflected on their learning experience at Macquarie University, one common aspect emerged. In a nutshell, participation was central to all of their learning experiences.
Natalie Spence was recently awarded a highly commended certificate by student vote for her poster on presentation skills at Macquarie University’s 2015 Learning and Teaching Week.
As one of Macquarie University’s core values, sustainability encourages staff and students alike to be mindful and intentional in their learning, considering the implications of both action and thought, and focusing on their role in moving towards a sustainable future. But what does sustainability actually mean, and what does it look like for our students?
The project seeks to meet the learning design challenges that emerge from the complexities of delivering hands-on practice based archaeology units fully online and intends to:
- apply a multi-media approach using video lectures, 3D digital artefacts and social networks (WordPress blog and Twitter);
- create experiential learning activities designed for the digital user;
- improve student engagement in the online environment and develop a student community of practice.
The results presented are from a 4 week Trial conducted in August 2015.
Comprehensive review of the unit’s learning and assessment design
- Employed the Design, Develop, Implement (DDI) initiative in collaboration with tutors appointed for 2016.
Layout of learning materials in iLearn
- Modular: Multi week approach with sequenced and scaffolded learning
- Students preferred “open” layout (as opposed to “closed” books or features with multiple layers within the site architecture) where:
- the learning outcomes are clearly expressed (using coloured boxes to signal importance);
- each step in the Weekly Schedule is visible with estimated time-frames;
- a checklist is available using the Activity Completion tool in iLearn and a full list at the end of the section.
Student Agency and Capacity
Students created and maintained their own “Dig Diary” WordPress blog for weekly critical reflection of video lectures/readings/activities. The blogs were provided to the students via the Mq WordPress multisite.
- Enhanced student engagement (as long as it counts!): Students felt most engaged in the trial “when commenting on other people’s blog posts and responding to the comments on my ones” and there would not have been “any interaction within the blog posts if it wasn’t a requirement”.
- WordPress Blog Set up: Students found locating and setting up their WordPress blog to be “thoroughly confusing!” and required pre-semester set-up as well as “clearly outlined expectations when preparing the blog: Do I need to ‘decorate’ it? Is the language academic or colloquial? How to phrase responses without the risk of mis-interpretation? e.g. tone.”
- Privacy concerns: Students found engaging via a WordPress blog and Twitter “intimidating as I had never used them before” were not sure “learning should take place on a public forum such as Twitter”, preferring “convener moderated blogging within iLearn.”
- Twitter was a fail, professional networks are key!
Videos. Not for everyone…
- Accessibility and revision tool: Students found the ability to “re-watch the video clips as much as I wanted” helpful.
- Lacked authenticity: “I personally found the video clips boring as there was no interaction with lecturers” and were very formal in comparison to live F2F lectures where anecdotal evidence or informal commentary is provided by teaching staff.
Social media offers a new pathway for enhancing a more customised, or personal, approach to student engagement.
- Digital by design requires clear instruction and teacher presence to provide a personalised learning experience.
- Design for digital uses available digital tools to increase student engagement and agency in participative and collaborative learning.
This project is funded by a Learning and Teaching Delivery Grant for 2015 entitled “Mediating Student Learning: Archaeology and Social Media in the 21st century – A Case Study on AHIS170: Egyptian Archaeology. An Introduction”. The grant is held by Dr Alexandra Woods and Dr Peter Keegan in collaboration with Ollie Coady (LTC), Dr Panos Vlachopoulos (LTC), Michael Rampe (LTC) and Dr Eve Guerry, Suzanne Eiselle-Evans and Ellen Ryan (all Ancient History).
Rob Manson’s presentation on Wearable Technologies has drawn much interest from the Macquarie University community eager to discover what the latest technology trends are.
She was named one of Australia’s most influential women in 2014 and now Pia Waugh is set to share thoughts with the Macquarie University community during Connect More: Learning and Teaching Week 2015.
Tell us something you’ve learned about teaching from your colleagues.
One of the most valuable lessons I have learned from a colleague is to show my passion and enthusiasm for acquiring skills and knowledge in my subject area, the study of ancient Egypt, so students in turn will be inspired to continue their learning journey long after their studies have ceased.
Hailed as a “game changer” for 21st century education, learning analytics is a buzzword often used but not widely understood. It even appears a few times in the draft Learning and Teaching Strategy. But what is it, what’s being done about it, and how can you feed into the discussion? We want to hear from you – join us at the learning analytics symposium during Learning and Teaching Week.
Introducing a new vision for Learning and Teaching at Macquarie University, which prioritises supporting staff to provide excellence in student experience and outcomes.